What is the best way to learn lighting?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by JohnKarpenter, Feb 10, 2021.

  1. JohnKarpenter

    JohnKarpenter TPF Noob!

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    I've heard many times that lighting is the most important thing in doing photography. How did you learn lighting and looking back, what do you think is the best way for beginners to learn lighting techniques and when to use what, etc omegle


     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2021
  2. Space Face

    Space Face Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    YouTube has a lot of good stuff.
     
  3. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I've spent several hours in a dark room with a Styrofoam wig head. First with a small flashlight moving it around watching the shadows and highlights, then with strobes and modeling lights and finally shooting individual strobes with different modifiers, and distance from the subject.

    I still have that wig head and I still go back to it occasionally.
     
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  4. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Painters work in paint, we work in light energy. It is our medium. A good image is one that starts with a great concept, is well composed, well lit and well edited. You should get a good book or go on line and learn composition. I am a believer that if you practice making light controlling it's 4 characteristics: direction, diffusion, intensity including relative intensity ratios and color, you will recognize them when you find them provided by existing light. If you have no interest in portraiture, it is still an area where you have complete control of those 4 characteristics and learning to mix and match them opens all sorts of creativity. You can find courses on youtube dealing with each area once you SEE how each works, you will be able to transfer that skill to other genres of photography. Editing can take your image from hohum to powerful, it is the finishing touches on the image.
     
  5. Rickbb

    Rickbb No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Best way for me to learn is take a class, 2nd is read a book then watch videos. I rate videos last due to so many out there that are just bad, really bad.
     
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  6. paigew

    paigew Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    For me the best way to learn lighting was to learn light. Meaning start with natural light. Learn what you like, how you like the light to hit your subjects. After you get the hang of natural light, it's pretty easy to figure out how to place and mold your lights to get the desired effect.
     
  7. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Rick, take a look at Kelby One training. His videos are with people at the top of the field. Dozens of lighting courses, composition courses, ambient light courses, courses on Lightroom and photoshop. You can take a month for free. But I will warn you, don't do it unless you can disappear for a month. I have numerous wives who are pissed at me because their husbands just vanished every day til the wee hours of the night.
     
  8. ac12

    ac12 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What you want to learn is the WHY. Why to use different lights, and what each light does.
    For portrature, why the same lighting does not work for two different people. Etc.
    • I am old fashioned, I like GOOD books. And there are a LOT of good portrait books.
    • A GOOD video, can be replayed over and over, till you "get it."
      • But I can't put post-it notes on a video like I can in a book.
    • The problem with books and video is, you cannot ask questions if you don't understand something.
    • I find that having an "in person" class, where you can ask questions of the instructor, is really valuable for learning.
      Old saying, there is no such thing as a dumb question.
      • IMHO, a class where you can't ask questions, is just like a video.
    • The problem with a class (on-line or in person) is, once it is over, it is done. Your notes and memory is all you have.
    • I also like to watch an old portrait photographer, who KNOWS lighting. It is really something to watch an old pro adjust the various lights for individual portraits. I really wish I had gone and watched and learned from them, when I first started out. That opportunity is long gone.
      • Really hard to find them today. Many of the ones that I've seen use a fixed umbrella in a "one size fits all" lighting. So I question their lighting knowledge.
    @smoke665 has a GREAT idea with the foam head.
    First you read and watch, to get the theory.
    The next step is to apply what you learned. And the only way to do that is to practice for real, with that foam head.
    It is easy to see the effect of continuous light, like a flashlight or lamp, in real time on the foam head.
    It is impossible to see that with a strobe. The light flash is way too fast to see the lighting and shadows.​
    The practical is, the foam head won't complain that you are shooting the flash in it's face for two hours, whereas your spouse or friend will. :miserable:
     
  9. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I learned lighting in College ... we had two courses just about using light, the text book was: light, science & magic
     

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